Posts

October 22, 2014

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8:34 AM | Is payment by diagnosis for dementia a good strategy?
There is a considerable furore surrounding the new proposal to pay GPs £55 for each dementia diagnosis. The Patients Association called it “a step too far” that would mean a “bounty on the head” of some patients (link), while the Daily Mail quoted a GP as describing the programme as ‘an intellectual and ethical travesty.’ Vitriol […]
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6:00 AM | Do economists care about patients?
I stand accused. Not of a particularly heinous crime, but of something that has given me pause for thought recently. During a discussion about a piece of work involving patient outcomes, I was accused of ‘thinking like an economist’. Had this come from an economist, it would have been meant in a complementary sense – […]

October 21, 2014

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3:39 PM | I've never heard of a "chemistry engineer", Mr. President.
Courtesy of Twitter user @cjt217, I see that the White House (or whichever junior deputy vice associate general special assistant to the President who wrote this letter) has invented a new term for "chemical engineers." Ah, well.(Found in the third or fourth page of the October 13 issue of C&EN.)
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3:24 PM | A guest post by Chad Jones: "4 things you probably already know about grad school but really shouldn't ignore."
CJ's note: Chad wrote this for the blog back when he was defending his dissertation -- he is now Dr. Jones and is working in industry. Soon I'll be defending my dissertation and finishing up my PhD. I also have several friends who are just beginning their graduate career. It’s been a very reflective time for me. I've thought about what advice I would give to those friends just starting grad school (I've also been wondering how helpful that advice would be - after all, I read plenty […]
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3:19 PM | "...however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority"
A reader points out the University of Alberta's interesting "Equal Opportunity" statement for its 3 tenure-track positions for assistant/associate professors in chemistry: "All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. If suitable Canadian citizens or permanent residents cannot be found, other individuals will be considered. The University of Alberta hires on the basis of merit. We are committed to the principle of […]
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3:03 PM | Daily Pump Trap: 10/21/14 edition
Not too many industrial positions of late (last 1-2 weeks or so) at C&EN Jobs:Lake Charles, LA: Rain Cii is looking for a B.S. chemist with 5 years experience for a "lab superintendent." (What a grand title!) San Francisco, CA: Oh, man, you've heard of "method" products, right? Check out this description for a "green chef director":Reporting to the Sr. Director of Formulation, a Green Chef is part chemist, part engineer, part innovator and part git-r-done. The Green Chef role is to […]
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2:48 PM | Ivory Filter Flask: 10/21/14 edition
A few of the recent academically-related positions posted on C&EN Jobs:New York, NY: NYU is looking for an assistant professor of physical, biophysical, or inorganic chemistry as part of its Laboratory for Molecular Nanoscience. (I find all of these tiny institutes kind of funny -- what are they supposed to accomplish?)Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan College of Pharmacy's Department of Medicinal Chemistry is searching for an associate professor to join its department.Durham, […]
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11:05 AM | Guest post: The dangers of evidence-based sentencing
This is a guest post by Luis Daniel, a research fellow at The GovLab at NYU where he works on issues dealing with tech and policy. He tweets @luisdaniel12. Crossposted at the GovLab. What is Evidence-based Sentencing? For several decades, parole and probation departments have been using research-backed assessments to determine the best supervision and treatment […]
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12:07 AM | Offered without comment
From today's Wall Street Journal.

October 20, 2014

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6:08 PM | Cameras being cheaper than higher wages...
From the Wall Street Journal, an interesting comment on regional labor shortages from the Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” report, released Wednesday, offered a generally upbeat outlook on the U.S. economy in September and October from anecdotes offered from its 12 regional banks... In the Dallas region, residential construction contacts “noted persistent labor shortages.” Indeed, in Houston, “a few builders were placing cameras […]
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6:03 PM | My challenge to those who believe in (s)low economic growth
"A more sustainable economy" has long been a theme of Rudy Baum's C&EN editorials -- the latest column in this week's C&EN is a rerun of a column from 2004*:I will review “Red Sky at Morning” in an upcoming issue of C&EN. Here, I want to take up one issue that Speth returns to repeatedly in his book: For our global economy to become a sustainable economy will require a fundamental shift in the economic paradigm that governs human activity today. Specifically, Speth […]
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5:46 PM | Something for California taxpayers to grouse about
I have been extremely remiss in noting that Kim Christensen of the Los Angeles Times has revealed UCLA spent over 4.4 million dollars defending Professor Patrick Harran from felony charges in relation to the death of Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji in 2009 due to an accident in his laboratories with tert-butyl lithium:After UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran walked out of court in June, his lawyers issued a news release hailing the "first-of-its-kind" deal that all but freed him from […]
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3:28 PM | The weirdest dietary theory you will see today
Also from this week's letters to the editor, a very strange theory:What a great scaremongering article “The Case against Sugar” is (C&EN, Aug. 4, page 11). Let’s be a touch more logical. So sugar has been bad for generations of people. Nevertheless, removing calories by replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners in soft drinks seems not to have made a difference. Doesn’t that point at the fattening effect coming from another soft-drink ingredient, such as […]
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3:23 PM | Victor Snieckus is a perceptive guy
Much more perceptive than me, regarding the ephemeral nature of electronic communications:The cover story on crystallography is a marvelous piece of journalism and riveting reading, at least to older generations of chemists. What stands out is the tingling thrill of discovery and the convolutions of thought of what would have happened if there had been slight turns of events and selective available knowledge. More apropos to our times, the various articles show how chemistry was a more […]
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3:17 PM | This week's C&EN
Lots of interesting tidbits in this week's C&EN: Marc Reisch notes that Agilent is getting out of the NMR business; sigh. One of the interesting aspects of getting the American Chemistry Council's morning newsletter is seeing them consistently back Republican senatorial candidates. Not a surprise, but perhaps something I was not fully aware of. Glenn Hess takes note of the trend. Also interesting to see that Mary Landrieu (D - LA) is strongly supported by ACC. I am […]
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11:03 AM | Big Data’s Disparate Impact
Take a look at this paper by Solon Barocas and Andrew D. Selbst entitled Big Data’s Disparate Impact. It deals with the question of whether current anti-discrimination law is equipped to handle the kind of unintentional discrimination and digital redlining we see emerging in some “big data” models (and that we suspect are hidden in a bunch more). […]

October 19, 2014

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4:17 PM | Oil decline: Price makes the story
So oft in theologic wars,The disputants, I ween,Rail on in utter ignoranceOf what each other mean,And prate about an ElephantNot one of them has seen!--The Blind Men and The Elephant by John Godfrey SaxeWhen the world's business editors sent their reporters canvassing to find out what is behind the recent plunge in the world oil price, they were doing what they do almost every day for every type of market: stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and real estate.In financial journalism more often […]
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12:31 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Quick, get on the bus! Hurry! Aunt Pythia is gonna be super fast this morning because she’s got crepes to make and apples to pick. Are you ready? Belts buckled? OK great, let’s do this. And afterwards: please think of something to ask Aunt Pythia at the bottom of the page! By the way, if […]
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8:19 AM | A week of links
Links this week: Was the paper proposing that mice can pass their fears onto their offspring and grandchildren via epigenetic mechanisms too good to be true? Neuroskeptic comments (and read the comments to Neuroskeptic’s post).  And my favourite epigenetics statement of the week: “Women too can succeed in business. Because epigenetics.” What are agent based […]

October 17, 2014

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5:24 PM | Jimmy John's employees and non-compete agreements
Via the Huffington Post, I see that the sandwich shop Jimmy John's is requiring non-compete agreements:Employee covenants and agrees that, during his or her employment with the Employer and for a period of two (2) years after … he or she will not have any direct or indirect interest in or perform services for … any business which derives more than ten percent (10%) of its revenue from selling submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches and which is […]
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5:13 PM | The paradox of capitalism
I read articles so fast that I tend to skip important things -- this paragraph by Laura Cassiday in this week's C&EN is one of them. Thanks to one of the ACS' innumerable e-mail newsletters, it was put in front of my face again: Who says big companies are cold, heartless behemoths, where employees are numbers and every decision is based on the bottom line? The three companies highlighted in this year’s C&EN profile of top companies for chemists are out to dispel this […]
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10:34 AM | De-anonymizing what used to be anonymous: NYC taxicabs
Thanks to Artem Kaznatcheev, I learned yesterday about the recent work of Anthony Tockar in exploring the field of anonymization and deanonymization of datasets. Specifically, he looked at the 2013 cab rides in New York City, which was provided under a FOIL request, and he stalked celebrities Bradley Cooper and Jessica Alba (and discovered that neither of them […]

October 16, 2014

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11:28 AM | Bad Paper by Jake Halpern
Yesterday I finished Jake Halpern’s new book, Bad Paper: Chasing Debt From Wall Street To The Underground. It’s an interesting series of close-up descriptions of the people who have been buying and selling revolving debt since the credit crisis, as well as the actual business of debt collecting. He talks about the very real problem, […]

October 15, 2014

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9:28 PM | Job posting: Medicinal chemist (Basel, Switzerland) and process chemist (Plymouth, MN)
From the inbox, a B.S./M.S./Ph.D. process development position at Cargill in Plymouth, MN:This position is predominantly technical support and process development for transformer oil, polyols, glycerin, and regulatory issues, and a lesser amount of administrative responsibility, partial building management of the Industrial Specialties Technology Center and the ISTC’s safety program.This position provides exposure to many corporate functions outside of R&D – e.g. operations, […]
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11:04 AM | Nurses on strike
Monday saw the first strike by health service staff in England and Wales for 32 years. This dispute surrounds the refusal of the government to implement a 1% pay rise recommended by the NHS pay review body. The reason for not awarding the pay increase given by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, […]
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5:00 AM | #HEJC for 24/10/2014
The next #HEJC discussion will take place Friday 24th October, at 1pm London time on Twitter. To see what this means for your time zone visit Time.is or join the Facebook event. For more information about the Health Economics Journal Club and how to take part, click here. The paper for discussion is a working […]
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4:00 AM | Global Partnership to Create Competitor to Capitalism
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: October 15, 2014 Source: Principled Societies Project, Houston, TX Summary: The LEDDA Partnership is the first science-based, global effort to create a fundamentally new economic system, Continue Reading → The post Global Partnership to Create Competitor to Capitalism appeared first on Principled Societies Project.
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3:47 AM | LEDDA Partnership Strategic Plan
Formation of the LEDDA Partnership in 2014 is a historic event—the partnership is the first science-based, global effort to create and assess a fundamentally new economic system, one that acts Continue Reading → The post LEDDA Partnership Strategic Plan appeared first on Principled Societies Project.

October 14, 2014

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7:08 PM | First-in-Class Simulation Model Illustrates Economic Democracy, End of Poverty
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: October 14, 2014 Source: Principled Societies Project, Houston, TX Summary: A first-in-class simulation model of virtual US county hybrid economy illustrates how the LEDDA economic direct Continue Reading → The post First-in-Class Simulation Model Illustrates Economic Democracy, End of Poverty appeared first on Principled Societies Project.
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3:20 PM | Is the ACS ready for a Cannabis Chemistry division?
Via LinkedIn, a fascinating petition:This is a petition to form a professional division within the membership of the American Chemical Society. The title of division shall be Cannabis Chemists. One might think that this is too specific of a designation for a separate professional division. I would however argue that it is a rapidly expanding profession and that we face many issues specific to the industry. As the medical marijuana and recreational cannabis industry grows it promises to […]
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